How to Fix a Toddler's Chapped Lips

Two Methods:Treating Your Toddler’s Chapped LipsRecognizing the Signs of a Lip Infection

Dry, cracked, chapped or sore lips usually develop in a cold, dry, windy weather. Unlike your skin, your lips are more sensitive to chapping because they do not produce oils to protect them from drying out.[1] In fact, more moisture is lost through your lips than any body part, and when your lips or your toddler’s lips lose moisture, the skin that covers them becomes tight and begins to split.[2] Chapped lips can be painful, especially for a toddler, but they usually heal on their own without any prescribed medication.[3] There are steps you can take to speed up the healing of your toddler’s chapped lips and prevent further chapping.

Part 1
Treating Your Toddler’s Chapped Lips

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    Tell your child not to lick their lips. Your child has a tendency to lick their lips when they feel dry. When saliva comes in contact with the lips, it evaporates quickly, leaving the lips drier instead of more moist.[4] So, always remind your child not to lick their lips whenever you see them do so as this will not improve their chapped lips.
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    Make sure your child drinks 8 to 10 glasses of water a day. Offer them water at mealtimes and play times throughout the day to prevent dehydration.[5]
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    Encourage your child to breathe through their noise rather than their mouth. The air coming from their mouth will constantly pass over their lips and dry them out.[6] If your child has a cold and cannot breathe through their nose, consult with your doctor to properly treat the cold.
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    Check the label of your child’s toothpaste. Toothpastes that contain an active ingredient called sodium lauryl sulfate causes the lips to dry and can even irritate them, leading to chapped lips.[7] Make sure your child uses a toothpaste that does not contain sodium lauryl sulfate.
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    Keep metallic objects like paper clips away from your child, especially if they are allergic to nickel. Toddlers are fond of putting objects into their mouth. If they come into contact with objects containing nickel such as paper clips, they may put them into their mouth and this can lead to chapped lips. An allergy to nickel can further irritated their lips and cause other reactions.
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    Protect your child’s face from cold, dry or windy weather. These weather conditions will contribute to the drying of your child’s lips by making their lips lose moisture.[8] Wrap a scarf around your child’s mouth so their lips are not be exposed to the cold, dry air. In a cold weather, try to get your child to play indoors.
    • You can also install humidifiers in your home or in your child’s room to prevent the air from becoming too dry.
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    Avoid feeding your child citrus fruits. The acid in citrus fruits has a tendency to irritate the lips and can cause your child’s lips to become sensitive to sunlight. As a result, the moisture from their lips quickly evaporates in the sun, leading to chapped lips.[9]
    • Citrus fruits to avoid include lemons, oranges, grapefruits, mandarins, pomelos, and limes.
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    Apply lip balm twice a day to your child’s chapped lips. Use a clean cotton bud to apply balm on their chapped lips, just enough to cover the affected area, twice a day: one in the morning and one before going to bed. Look for a balm or ointment that contains ingredients like petrolatum, castor seed oil, shea butter, or sunflower seed oil.[10] Basic home essentials, such as Crisco or petroleum, are also effective in healing chapped lips.[11]
    • Avoid waxy balms that come in sticks, as they aren’t as effective at locking in moisture.[12] As well, use a lip balm that has SPF 15 if you and your child are planning to go outside as sun exposure can also dry their lips.[13] Don’t use any flavored or scented lip balm, as this can further encourage your child to lick their lips.
    • You can purchase lip balm at your local pharmacy or drugstore. The effectiveness of the lip balm depends on the severity of your toddler’s chapped lips.
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    Wipe your child’s chapped lips with a clean cloth soaked in clean water. Pat the wet cloth onto their chapped lips as often as possible. Do not rub it against your child’s lips as this can irritate and further damage the affected area.[14]
    • Wetting their lips with water works better than allowing them to lick their lips because the pH of water is neutral (usually a pH of 7), meaning it is not an acid or a base. Saliva has digestive enzymes that are acids[15] that will further irritate rather than moisten, their lips.

Part 2
Recognizing the Signs of a Lip Infection

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    Seek medical attention if pus comes out of your child’s chapped lips. If your child’s lips are sore and pus is draining out of them, this may be caused by touching their lips with dirty hands and putting dirty things in their mouth like toys or dirty pacifiers. Harmful microorganisms can then be transmitted into the chapped lips, especially their lips have open wounds.[16]
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    Take your child into your doctor if there are white patches on their tongue. White patches on their tongue, coupled with chapped lips, can be signs that your child has a Candida or yeast infection. Your doctor may recommend the application of an anti-fungal cream to treat the infection.[17]
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    Get your child checked for lip eczema. Persistently chapped lips may be a sign of lip eczema, a common condition related to dry skin. If your child has lip eczema, your doctor should be able to recommend a stronger course of action or prescribe stronger treatment.

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Categories: Skin Care